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Not Getting Expected Performance In Games

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December 28, 2011 9:33:55 AM

Bought a computer about a year ago. Was a piece of crap, replaced the motherboard and power supply as well as giving it as graphics card. However, I've got wildly varying performance in games. Just Cause 2? I can run it perfectly on high settings at 1080p. Metro 2033 on high settings at 30 FPS as well. Call of Duty Black Ops and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 however frequently stutter. Saints Row 3 stutters as well. Fallout New Vegas stutters every ten seconds ago. Just did a complete (and I mean complete uninstall and reinstall of video card drivers to no avail). I've checked the heat situation and nothing seems to get much hotter than 65 degrees Celsius even when gaming.

Specs:
Motherboard- Asus Maximus III Gene
PSU: Antec BP550
CPU: i5 650
GPU: AMD 6850
RAM: 8 GB DDR

Any help would be so greatly appreciated. If all is successful, I do plan on switching to a cool case setup that you guys might get a kick out of.
December 28, 2011 10:10:39 AM

I would like to know about the case you have now and the case you intend to use.

Also, I would like to know if you have tried using the Overdrive section of the Catalyst Control Center to squeeze more performance out of your video card.

The games you listed as stuttering are pretty high end and they could be torturing your CPU or GPU or both.

OCing these parts could help alleviate those issues.

- Edit - BTW, I looked at benchmark comparisons for gaming between the i5 - 650 and the i5 2500k and the 2500k is 50% ahead in every game measured.
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December 28, 2011 10:17:17 AM

Do you have the latest drivers for the card installed? Sound like a software or game engine problem.

Keep in mind, OCing brings problems of its own...
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December 28, 2011 10:30:59 AM

Do you have anything going on in the background? Sometimes games skip because the hard drive can't keep up with the demands and the system is waiting for data. Even more so if you have a program running in the background.
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December 28, 2011 10:39:28 AM

Most of the time, games shouldn't really need to write a whole lot of stuff to the hard drive unless they have some sort of auto-save mode that triggers continuously.

However, having progams in the background using system resources could easily cause this situation, I do agree with that.
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December 28, 2011 7:41:48 PM

Aside, this review says that 'high' is about as good as you can get from 6850 in Metro 2033. http://www.hardocp.com/article/2010/10/21/amd_radeon_hd...

Watch your disk light when you get stuttering. If the disk light is on flickering or solid then you have IO causing the problem, if off that rules out IO.

Underclock the 6850. Play the game. Overclock the 6850. Play the game. (Use AMD overdrive to both under and over clock). Did the 'stutter' change between the under and overclocked 6850? No, then not graphics, it's CPU. I'm guessing stutter won't change.

i5 650 is a dual core processor. Hyperthreading makes the 2 core process appear as 4 slow processors for workloads that can keep more than two cores busy (if you want a performance eval of hyper-threading and other SMT technology - post. I run with it off on my i7-920). It's likely that something in the background is using CPU cycles and causing your problem. You can find out what using resources by using window's built-in performance monitor. Launch task manger, go to performance tab, launch resource monitor. Run it in the background. Now launch your game. Use the windows key to jump to resource manager when the system is running well. See how much CPU is used by which processes. Check network and disk. The graphs will give you some historical feel. (Note: when you see CPU at 100% this is not a problem, it's sloppy coding. Most game spin the CPU waiting for events.) Try to see what processes are really using CPU. When you get a stutter jump over to resource monitor and see how the stutter time period compares to the normal time period. Try to find what other processes are using CPU and then get rid of them. See if there was a spike in network activity.

Usual suspects include anything that downloads fixes like adobe, antivirus scans, etc.

Good luck, post when you find out what it is.
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December 28, 2011 7:58:10 PM

Raiddinn said:
I would like to know about the case you have now and the case you intend to use.

Also, I would like to know if you have tried using the Overdrive section of the Catalyst Control Center to squeeze more performance out of your video card.

The games you listed as stuttering are pretty high end and they could be torturing your CPU or GPU or both.

OCing these parts could help alleviate those issues.

- Edit - BTW, I looked at benchmark comparisons for gaming between the i5 - 650 and the i5 2500k and the 2500k is 50% ahead in every game measured.

I have not tried under and overclocking yet but these games shouldn't require it. The Call of Duty's are reportedly not that intensive. The case I have is from the Asus CG5270. It's big and roomy. I have one case fan on. I monitor the temperature of the CPU and GPU fans and they do not seem to get very hot even while gaming. Once I fix these problems, I plan to switch to a very small case (but I'll make sure to have more fans but I'll resist overclocking to be safe).

Max1s said:
Do you have the latest drivers for the card installed? Sound like a software or game engine problem.

Keep in mind, OCing brings problems of its own...

Latest drivers are indeed installed (and installed cleanly). I would suspect game engine but this seems to happen in half of my games.
wurkfur said:
Do you have anything going on in the background? Sometimes games skip because the hard drive can't keep up with the demands and the system is waiting for data. Even more so if you have a program running in the background.

I usually play with no other programs save maybe iTunes open. My system tray has Dropbox, CPU Temp, Rainmeter, and Air Video Server on however no videostreaming is happening. As soon as I finish this post, I'll check if it's Air Video causing problems. I highly doubt it though.

Also regarding Metro 6850 benchmarks, I did those in DX9 not DX11 (DX11 didn't seem to add much for a significant but normal performance hit). I've tried SR3 in both modes to no luck. In the game I only experience about 60% CPU load. I suspect this may be the problem. Tsnor, thanks, I'm going to try your tips now.
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December 28, 2011 8:12:46 PM

Did some further testing. In Skyrim which is mostly smooth at 1080p on high settings, I still only get about 60% CPU load. I turned Air Video off, and get the same results in Saints Row 3. SR3 is currently bugging out on DX11 which is new, but it still runs like crap in DX9. I underclocked my GPU and played SR3 and it seemed to run pretty much the same. Now I'm fairly certain this is CPU related. Only part that is odd is why games like Skyrim run okay with only a 60% load on the CPU.
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